Courtenay council spourns early return of ‘not as affordable’ rezoning application

A request to reapply for rezoning of an affordable housing project on Cumberland Road within a year was denied Monday by Courtenay council.

A request by Len Mathot Homes Ltd. to reapply for rezoning of its proposed affordable housing project on Cumberland Road within a year was denied Monday by Courtenay council.

The original proposal to rezone properties at 703, 721 and 745 Cumberland Rd. from industrial to residential use was defeated after the public hearing on Nov. 14. However, by Nov. 21 the City received an amended application from Len Mathot, owner of the development company.

“After careful consideration of the comments received from the neighbours I have amended my development proposal to comply with the current zoning on the neighbouring properties,” wrote Mathot in a letter to the City. “I respectfully request that council permit the submission of a new application for this property.”

The normal wait time for reapplications is one year, but Mathot asked council to waive the rule in this case.

Coun. Starr Winchester was opposed.

“I spoke with three neighbours, including a business, and they felt it was incumbent on the applicant to come and talk to them about his ‘new proposal’ prior to asking council to waive the one-year waiting period,” said Winchester in an e-mail.

She added that neighbours said Mathot had not spoken with them yet, although he said  in his letter to the City he intends to discuss the proposal with them during December.

“If the developer spoke with the neighbours and worked with them, I would be more than willing to look at waiving the waiting period of one year,” Winchester said.

Coun. Jon Amber called the 12 months between reapplications a “cooling-off period,” but noted that the risk of taking a shorter cooloff time fell on the developer. He also mentioned that if defeated, the developer would have 12 months to talk to the surrounding residents.

Coun. Doug Hillian pointed out that the new application changed from 33 proposed units to 12 two-bedroom units, adding that this change was significant, but that he suspected the rental units would each cost more at this size.

Coun. Ronna-Rae Leonard said the proposed project fits within the Official Community Plan and that the reapplication addressed the need of low-income housing for families instead of singles. She agreed the risk fell on the developer and suggested giving him a chance.

“It’s fair to give him the opportunity,” said Leonard.

Coun. Bill Anglin said Mathot seemed to be trying to meet the needs of the neighbours, and said “the bar has not been lowered; it’s been raised,” by the company.

Coun. Manno Theos made a motion to table the issue for 90 days since the reapplication was “hot off the press” after the original was defeated.

This motion was defeated.

Mayor Larry Jangula called the issue “contentious” and “tough.” He said he was concerned about possible noise complaints from new residents of the property, as land surrounding it is zoned for industrial use.

He also said jobs and affordable housing were two major issues during the municipal election, and that if the land remains zoned for industrial use, future jobs are a possibility. While he said low-income housing is important, he said people have questioned how affordable the proposed housing would actually be.

Council needed a two-thirds majority voting in favour to pass the proposal. It was defeated with Leonard, Amber, Anglin and Hillian in favour, and Theos, Winchester and Jangula opposed.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The suspect in a Nov. 22 attempted robbery at the Ryan Road 7-Eleven has been arrested. Photo supplied
Courtenay man arrested in connection with attempted robbery at 7-Eleven

A 19-year old Courtenay man has been arrested following an attempted robbery… Continue reading

The Nov. 20 WestJet flight 3171 has been identified by the BC Centre for Disease Control with a COVID case aboard. (Black Press file photo)
COVID-19 exposure reported on a fifth flight at Comox airport

Another exposure risk from flight originating in Calgary

The School District 70 administration office in Port Alberni. AV NEWS FILE PHOTO
Four Alberni schools reporting COVID-19 exposures

Exposures occurred between Nov. 19 and Nov. 25 depending on the school

The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 160 Comox, B.C. Poppy Chairman, Kent Guilford presenting cheques to the following organizations in support of their venues: (top left) The Sea Cadet Corps who assisted in last year’s Poppy campaign. (Top right) CFB Comox, Military Family Resource Center, Kim Hetherington, executive director MFRC. Bottom, The Views at St Joseph’s, Jessica Aldred, Health Care Foundation, Michael Aikins, senior operations leader. We wish to Thank All those who supported last year’s Poppy Campaign and we hope we will have your continued support this year. Thank you all.
Comox Valley gives back

Spotlight on some of the groups, businesses and individuals who make the Comox Valley great

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Co-author of residential schools book condemns controversial Abbotsford class assignment

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Left to right: A screenshot of NTC nurse navigator Lesley Cerney, FNHA regional mental health manager Georjeana Paterson and Island Health’s medical health officer Dr. Charmaine Enns addressing Ehattesaht community members from Ehatis reserve in a Facebook live update. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Medical team sent to Ehatis reserve near Zeballos to guide community through COVID outbreak

17 cases, eight recoveries and no hospitalizations as Island Health praises First Nation’s response

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Most Read